Social media is sweeping through our culture. And it is often being described and treated as an immense force. Facebook is the most visited site on the Internet. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. A new member joins LinkedIn every second. Twitter currently has 8 million tweets per second. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. However, the massive power of social media is not accumulated in any single entity. The true power of social media lies in a lot of little things.
I recently reviewed a client’s web analytics to get an idea of the effects of social media on their web traffic. As I looked at the daily reports of incoming visitors from Facebook and Twitter I was a bit discouraged. The day-to-day numbers were much lower than I was hoping to see. However, when I looked at the monthly web traffic overall, I made some interesting discoveries:
- Social media made up about 17% of the total traffic to the website.
- The client’s blog accounted for an additional 24% of the total traffic.
While there was some duplication in the two statistics, nearly 40% of the monthly web traffic was coming from, or being drawn in by social media.
When I first looked at the analytics report, I could have been discouraged and said that social media was not working. But, in just a few mouse-clicks I discovered how all of the little things were adding up.
Let me lay out a sample scenario of how the little things impact the big picture:
- A tweet (Twitter) leads someone to a blog post.
- That person likes (Facebook) the blog post.
- One of their friends sees the like on Facebook and comments on it.
- Someone thinks that one of the comments is interesting so they tweet about it.
- That tweet trends, resulting in a lot of interest that turns into a conversation.
- This dialog develops via blog comments.
- This blog conversation spills over into Facebook.
- Before you know it other people are blogging about the discussion.
- The cycle repeats with every step amplified.
Each of the components that make up a social media strategy creates an exponential effect when executed in harmony. There are fundamentally four keys to building a strong foundation for maximum impact in social media.
- Define your strategy (most people miss this part)
- Manage with consistency
- Measure the big picture response
- Adjust for improvement
As Hesiod, the ancient Greek poet, once said, “If you add a little to a little and do this often, soon the little will become great.”
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